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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » The Truth, Monogamy and You

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Author Topic: The Truth, Monogamy and You
Heather
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It may go without saying at this point that around here, we don't necessarily think monogamy is the be-all end-all a lot of people do. There are many models of relationships that can work, and monogamy is only one of them.

However, we DO think that if you agree to be monogamous, then you and your partner certainly should be. We also think that if something changes and you want to be nonmonogamous, you need to be honest with your partner and talk to them about it (and potentially renegotiate your terms) BEFORE you go nab someone else.

Unfortunately, it seems most people don't do that, and are more inclined to simply lie, break up, or be sneaky.

What about you? How do you feel about it, and why would or wouldn't you tell the truth?


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ThisGuy
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Cheating = bad.
Very bad.
Mucho bad.

Basically because you're betraying someone you promised could trust you. If you agree to a monogamous relationship, then you agree to a monogamous relationship.

No ifs or buts - if something crops up and you decide your SO isn't enough for you, then you must tell them so. You have no right or justification to break that kind of commitment.

There's no Jerry Springer reality where you can claim: "well you suck in bed!". You made a promise, and you can keep it, or renegotiate.

------------------
Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice


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lemming
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Laughing out loud, Thisguy! I like your "Jerry Springer reality" bit - and it's completely true -

if we could all just communicate with our partners, many if not all of our relationship problems could be solved so much more easily!

And yes - it may be that I am very strict about promises, but if you are in a relationship with someone, you should have mutual trust, and cheating on them if you have agreed it is to be a monogamous relationship is breaking this trust. That is wrong, in my opinion.

But relationships which have been non-monogamous from the very beginning - it seems in that case that it takes perhaps even more trust and even more love to let go of jealousy...I don't know. I've never tried it, and I can't knock it.

------------------
~lemming

"This was a Pizza Hut, now it's all covered in daisies..." ~Talking Heads, in "Nothing But Flowers"


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Pixie69
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Yeah, I totally agree. Now I've done some stupid stuff that way (cheating on boyfriends) and now that I look back on it I realize that it was sooo wrong. How can you do that to someone? I think if you like someone else, or if you'r going to do something with someone else, you need to be honest about it beforehand. Totally.

Brittany


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Hanne
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I have been monogamous, and I have been polyamorous. Both styles of maintaining relationships, I find, require 150% of your attention and energy -- just in different ways.

When you're monogamous, the rules are a bit clearer and the boundaries are more built-in, but maintaining them honestly, and being really straight up with yourself and your partner, *all* the time, is difficult. It's also difficult to figure out what to do with that sexual interest and energy that crops up in regard to people outside of your monogamous relationship, and how to deal with that honestly and openly but in ways that are not threatening or damaging.

When you are polyamorous, it requires a lot more thought and communication about boundaries and limits, about needs and desires in terms of time, communication, time spent with any given partner, balancing time between partners, and many other things. There are far fewer built-in boundaries, and there are no boundaries that will be enforced by the culture you live in (our culture, for instance, tries to enforce or at least reinforce monogamy by expecting monogamy -- institutions like marriage also are part of the cultural reinforcement of monogamy). You are on your own, you and your partners and, if you have one, the community of other polyamorous people you know, to develop models for relationships that work for you and your partners. And that's more difficult.

The nice thing is that when you give that much time to figuring out how things need to work, and communicating your needs and thoughts and fears and desires, it often tends to be slightly easier to actually *do* all that stuff since you've worked through so much of it and communicated so much of it already.

If people have questions about polyamory, please feel free to ask me. No one, including me, has all the answers about polyamory -- there are as many ways to "do" polyamory as there are people who maintain polyamorous relationships. But I've been polyamorous for quite a while now, and I am happy to field general questions.

------------------
Hanne Blank
Associate Editor, Scarleteen

"Be Excellent To Each Other" -- Bill and Ted


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Silver
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Now this is me here, but in my opinion, cheating is lying, lying destroys trust, trust is the foundation of love, therefore cheating is pretty much an attack on what love is all about, if your relationship is supposed to be about love. (not all are, mind, but still-) Now, if everyone is _okay_ with you being with someone else (some folks swing that way, as Hanne has said ) then it's fine, but going behind your partner's back is, to me, pretty low. If they're really so bad you feel the urge to cheat, just break up with them first! :P Be honest with yourself and them...

That's the short of it in my eyes, anyhow.

8)


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Hanne
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I want to step in here to remind you all that the desire to cheat (in a monogamous relationship), or to be with another partner, is not necessarily caused by your current partner being "bad" or in any way dissatisfying.

People look for new romantic and sexual relationships for a lot of reasons -- variety, novelty, because they like the 'high' you get from that new relationship energy. It may well have nothing to do with how much you like or love a current partner. It's very possible to love and enjoy your partner, and STILL have the impulse to be with someone else from time to time.

There's a common myth in our culture that if our relationship with our partner is good and they are good for us, we won't want anything or anyone else. That's simply not the way it works.

No one person can be *everything* for any other person... no matter whether you are monogamous or polyamorous, there are always things that you need for yourself that come from outside of your relationship(s). That's why we have friends and family, why we sometimes see therapists, and why we go to social and entertainment events: different people and situations have different roles in our lives and give us different things that we need.

Seeking out multiple relationships, if that is what people choose to do, is part of that. For some people, it is an excellent solution for getting their personal and sexual needs met. It does not mean that any one of their relationships is necessarily flawed or bad.

Also, I should point out that polyamorous people can and do sometimes cheat on their partners. Polyamorous relationships have rules, just like monogamous ones do. Polyamory does not (usually) mean "it's a free-for-all, you can sleep with whoever you want, anytime you want." A polyamorous person will have boundaries and rules with their partners, individually and collectively. For a polyamorous person to break those rules -- just like a monogamous person breaking the rules of their relationship -- is cheating.

Breaking rules, no matter what style of relationship(s) you maintain in your life, is always a bad idea... it violates trust and undermines the stability of relationships. That's no less true for polyamorous relationships than it is for monogamous ones.

------------------
Hanne Blank
Associate Editor, Scarleteen

"Be Excellent To Each Other" -- Bill and Ted


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Heather
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That was excellently said.

To put it most simply: yes, cheating IS lying. What "cheating" basically means is that you are dishonestly dismissing the rules of your relationship. However, having an additional partner is not necessarily cheating OR lying, if -- within the boundaries of your relationship -- you are permitted to do so and have followed whatever rules and limitations you have set up in that framework.

I had, in fact, been cheated on in a polyamorous relationship years ago. the rules we had set up were simply that when we chose another partner, we would tell the other we had, and when we had a date with that partner, we would let the other know. My partner took a secondary partner without doing any of those things, and lied about it even when I knew what was going on and asked about it directly. In that situation, the issue was that he simply wanted a new primary partner -- and NOT a polyamorous relationship -- and so he lied rather than communicating that. Taking a secondary partner, in that case, wasn't cheating in and of itself, but doing so in a way that was outside our agreement was in fact cheating.

I also don't think you have to break up with someone first to have a secondary relationship. Like any contract, one can always renegotiate if it's possible. It is entirely possible to agree to changing a monogamous relationship to a nonmonogamous one if both people are comfortable with it and want one. Wanting more than one partner by no means has to mean the end of a relationship.


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Ron
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There have been some pretty thoughtful comments in this topic. I agree with the general consensus. I don't think a polyamorous situation is ever very stable, but that's not necessarily bad. Most monogamous relationships aren't very stable these days either.

What makes me a little uncomfortable is to put it in terms of our 'needs' and desires. Whatever the rules are, no matter how open they are, we seem eventually to think about breaking them. It comes from thinking that our 'needs' are going to be satisfied 'out there' by someone else, by our partner or by a new partner. Our minds think, "if I just didn't have to follow this stupid rule I would be happy". If I just had his partner then everything would be cool.

These are delusions. Happiness comes from inside. No one can make us happy. We become happy by making other people happy, but we forget that. A lot of sexual drive and sexual angst and a lot of unhappiness in our relationships comes from not realizing that we are usually deluding ourselves into expecting that more sex or different sex or someone else will finally satisfy us--anything but facing our own delusions for what they are.

Maybe this doesn't make a lot of sense to most people; but i read a lot of messages from people on these boards who are really miserable because they thought their happiness was going to come from outside, specifically, from a sexual partner. It ain't going to happen. Get your own mind under control, be happy with yourself and then your monogamy or your polyamory or your solitude will be just groovy. Then you just might actually be able to make someone happy.


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ErinK
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Lots of stuff to think about in this thread.

When I was 18, I ended up in the middle of my parents' very messy divorce, and through a very bad collection of circumstances, ended up outing my mother's affair to my father, who had no idea that it was going on.

After that, I vowed that I would Never Cheat, and I had a really sanctimonious attitude towards people who cheated or even thought about cheating on their partners. When I got involved someone, I made him make all kinds of promises about how we'd be together forever and we'd never ever cheat or even look at other people. These promises made me feel more secure about having a relationship at all.

Well, I started becoming "good friends" with someone else, and it got to a point where I thought "you know, if I wasn't monogomous, I'd be wanting to do Relationship Things with this person." And he was feeling the same way, but didn't want to out of respect for my current relationship...

So I had a really long and really involved talk with the person I was with, and at the end of it we agreed that we'd allow each other to see other people and have relationships with them (including sexual activity), within certain guidelines and boundaries. And so we have been.

Right now I have three people in my life that I'm in what I consider Relationships with (now defining different categories of relationships, that's a whole other story), including the person I was first involved with. All three of them make me very happy, and I hope that i make them happy too.

However, as Ron mentioned, it took working through (and still working) on figuring out who I am and what I want out of life and what I want out of relationships and friendships and everything else to really make me happy. The people in my life are wonderful and supportive and fantastic, but it's ultimately up to me to decide what I want to do with my life, and it's up to me to make sure that I'm happy and fulfilled.

What really burns me is when someone tries to use polyamory as a reason for cheating. For me, having a polyamorous set of relationships means that everyone I'm involved with is honest and upfront and communicating with everyone else about what's going on. It doesn't mean I'm playing musical beds, nor are they, and it certainly doesn't mean that I or my partners are allowed to be deceitful.

I think people should be allowed to choose the relationship style and strucutre that's best for them and their partner(s), and that all relationships should be conducted honestly and safely. Cheating jeopardizes honesty and safety.

Oh, and if people are looking for more information about polyamory, a good website that provides information (and is minor-friendly) is http://www.polyamory.org

Goodness, I've been babbling. I'm very willing to answer questions, though, either here or in private email (you can find my email address via my web page, which is listed in my profile.)

------------------
PHILOSOPHY: Basically, this involves sitting in a room and deciding there
is no such thing as reality and then going to lunch. -- Dave Barry


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Chicago Sex Lady
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As a person who works with HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease prevention, I just want to throw in the ol' "safer sex" pitch: please, if you have multiple partners (oh heck, if you have ANY partners), be realistic about nasty infections that you could get and give. If you have a monogamy agreement with someone and you find yourself even *comtemplating* breaking it, pack yourself some male condoms/female condoms/dental dams/plastic wrap/latex gloves... whatever you need. If you cheat on someone, that's a difficult thing. If you cheat on someone and give them an infection, that's a health hazard; and no one has the right to endanger another person's health.

I have no beef with polyamory, though my partner and I are both glad neither of us wants to practice it. I would hope that part of negotiating the boundaries of polyamorous relationships would include things like "body-fluid monogamous" or "non-penetration" or "only after really, really frank discussions about sexual health histories" -- all that highly non-erotic stuff that everyone LOVES to think about when they're hot. Do your sex life however you want; my only concern is once you add more people (who also may add more people, because of their other partners), everyone has to be even more real about the infection factor. You're all in this together, in a way.

Of course, being in a monogamous relationship with someone who has an infection is a great way to get one as well... annoys me when people pitch monogamy as the end-all be-all of safer sex. People just gotta be sane, that's all.

Not here to bum anyone out -- just wanted to add that. Later!


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Heather
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A fantastic reminder, Chicago, regardless of your relationship construct.

(We're always happy when someone besides us issues those reminders. They keep us from looking like killjoys)


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Hanne
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Yay, Chicago, yes, absolutely, what you said.

Conveniently, I have found that most of the people I have known who have been open minded enough to cope with my polyamory have been pretty well educated in terms of healthy sexuality all the way around, so safer sex has been considered a given, not something that needed to be negotiated in the slightest -- just something you do.

But not everyone is that way, and the reminder is certainly a good one!

------------------
Hanne Blank
Associate Editor, Scarleteen

"Be Excellent To Each Other" -- Bill and Ted


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ErinK
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Oh, yes, explicit safer sex agreements and ground rules for exhanging health hsitories and regular STD testing and all that are all built in to the agreements I have with my partners, and from the discussions that I've been following on various polyamory related fora, it seems to be a concern for most people. (Of course, that's a very small sample size compared to all the people in the world.)

In fact, it was ending up choosing polyamory that really motivated me to learn as much as I could about safer sex, becuase all of a sudden I was going from a situation where neither I nor my current partner had had certain kinds of sexual contact with anyone but each other (even then we were stil practicing safer sex) to having sex with more than one person. Not that I'm typical, but I wish that in that instance I was.

But thanks for reminding me of that. It is very important to me... and while my partners have varied in their knowledge about safer sex, all of them have picked up the clue phone about it, and that's good.


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enrico
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Hi.
Forgive the personal melodrama, but I think this fits in the discussion and I have been going crazy thinking about this, so I would appreciate some thoughts...

Polygamy is, for whatever reason, really very difficult for me. I have been hurt more than once by my desire to be involved with someone who was interested in me, but also with others. Whether is was my jealously, my feelings of inadequacy or whatever, I had to end things becuase I wasn't ready to get in the middle of that. It seems like a big mess.

For example...
I recently became involved with a girl who was a breath of fresh air. She chose to take things very slowly with me because we both wanted to make sure that our feelings were matching our actions. After a few weeks we discussed where things were going: I said that i was ok with our dating others so long as I was "not getting in the middle of things." She said that I wasn't, but that she wanted to make sure that I understood that she wanted the "right to date other people," and that she "didn't want anything serious."
After about 8 or 9 weeks, our actions had progressed to the point that I certianly felt we were getting serious. At this time, she spent a week with her ex-boyfriend. I was crushed, not expecting her to be still involved with an ex of 5 years. (the question of the extent of their involvement can be concisely summarized as definitely 'more than friends)
Upon her return, she claimed that she very much wanted to be with me, with a view toward a serious relationship, while still being polyamorous.
I felt that I had been deceived. I currently do not speak with this girl, but want to each minute of the day.
It has been my long time ambition to be comfortable with the growing numbers of girls that I am meeting that feel the polyamorous path is the correct way.
I can't help feeling that there lacks an intensity, lacks a trust, or an emotional energy in the affections one either gives to or recieves from a partner who is polyamorous. It just seems complicated and messy.
SO I guess, was I truly deceived? She has said in not uncertain terms that she "Was fair with me..." From what I have been gathering from the discussion is that people will not agree. I have read that polyamorous relationships almost require 'more' communicaiton than couple-type relationships.
And secondly, what advice can I take that will help me to be comfortable, happy, fulfilled, and secure in polyamorous relationships?
I have a whole life of catholic morality to combat, and so the task I know will not be an easy one, I am just tired of constantly becoming devestated when the object of my affections wants a less focused 'thing' than I do...
Anyways, thanks for reading my expose, I look forward to your insight...


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Hanne
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Well, first off -- polyamory is definitely not for everyone, and not for everyone at every point in their lives. It's not something you can just switch on like a lightswitch and say "okay, it's on now."

Yes, polyamory takes a lot of work, and a perfectly ENORMOUS amount of communication to make it work. It also takes a sometimes superhuman amount of responsibility and self-awareness. (so, in my experience, does having an honest and ethical monogamous relationship, but they are different flavors).

I'd highly recommend that you go do some reading -- www.polyamory.org is a good place to start -- and see if you can't find out whether there is some poly community to be had near where you are or online. This isn't necessarily the right place for us to be doing the indepth hashing out of personal and relationship issues that can (and helpfully so!) take place in poly discussion groups online or off, and it sounds like you could definitely use some of that right now.

ErinK is involved in an online forum for poly issues -- perhaps she'll stop by and tell you a bit about it.

------------------
Hanne Blank
Co-Editor, Scarleteen

Start a Revolution -- Stop Hating Your Body!


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Semisane
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If you imagine a person as being an island, then love and relationships are the process by which we build bridges between our islands. The idea of building those bridges is central, because it does not "just happen", the bridges do not magically appear. Love that "just happens" has little to do with empathy or real feeling for one another; rather, it has to do with lust. Lust is like currents that threaten to pull the islands apart. It is also often what brings them together to begin with.

Few relationships, no matter how meaningful, grew without any initial sexual aspect. It is often these currents, these carnal instincts, that bring people together but it is up to those people, and their bridge building skills to keep themselves together. The currents are peripatetic, and the way they point today is not neccessarily the way that they will point tomorrow.

In a sea of changing currents we can either make our bridges flexible, to accomodate some motion, or fantastically strong, to withstand the pull of the tide. Unfortunately, often when we try for the later, all that we do is crack and destroy our bridges. This would not happen if they were slightly more flexible.

I think that it is a tragedy how lust can pull people apart and push them together. It seems like some sort of fate that seeks to distort and destroy our plans. Perhaps the answer to this dillema of morality may lie in making our bridges more flexible, as distasteful and disrespectful as it may now seem perhaps in the long run it will serve to lessen suffering.

Ethics are not written in stone, and are always subject to change and evolution. Perhaps they way that they are evolving is towards more open relationships.

It saddens me that our hormones are so cruel to us. Rarely do social desires and evolutionary desires function together, and it is our dichotomy between being simple animals, ruled by lust and instinct, and human beings, ruled by our own principles. The only sensible conclusion is that we must be both, according to a balance that each of us must set for ourself.

Semisane
keeper_of_earth@hotmail.com
semisane@nerve.com


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Ron
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quote:
Originally posted by Semisane:
[B]
I think that it is a tragedy how lust can pull people apart and push them together. It seems like some sort of fate that seeks to distort and destroy our plans. Perhaps the answer to this dillema of morality may lie in making our bridges more flexible, as distasteful and disrespectful as it may now seem perhaps in the long run it will serve to lessen suffering.

It saddens me that our hormones are so cruel to us...it is our dichotomy between being simple animals, ruled by lust and instinct, and human beings, ruled by our own principles.
/B]


I don't think it is so much a matter of prinicples vs. instinct. Sexual desire is part of our response to others and it is a vital part of 'bridge-building' as you point out. The problem is attachment vs. love. We confuse our egotistical craving to attend our own desires and needs with 'love'. Desirous attachment says, "I need you, I want you, I can't live with out you" Love says "You are beautiful, you're happiness is is most important" If we can reduce our ego-centered attachment and increase our affectionate love, then really were ready for any kind of relationship.

[This message has been edited by Ron (edited 16 October 2000).]


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TheneB
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How can you guys be in Polyamorous (?) relationships? I just can't imagine that. IMO if im dating someone its because i want to be with them, and they want to be with me ( i hope ) so dating/having sex with, other ppl seems to kind of contradict that. I just know i couldn't handle that.

And on cheating. To me ( having just recently been on the recieving end of being cheated on ) its horrible. I think its probably the worse lie and deception anyone can do to someone who loves them. And whats even worse is that beyond the lie of cheating itself, is the TON of lies that are involved around it. I spend a month visiting my gf the entire time trusting her and listening to her telling me i was the only one for her. She also talked with a "friend" on the phone atleast 2 hours of everyday i was with her. Never did i really suspect a thing ( until later on, but she told me i was wrong and i trusted her ). I think by far the worse part of cheating isn't the physical thing, but the lies. Had she just had a "one night" thing and told me the next day, it would have hurt, but i wouldn't have been that mad. Im far away from her, shes on her on for the first time, id understand if she didn't do it again. But the ton of lies that come with it and just HORRIBLE for the person being lied too.
Cheating no matter what is bad, but when the other person is having a relationship it gets SO much worse.

What do YOU guys consider cheating? I think the article on cheating said it well. Something like any touching in a sexual nature. So IMO kissing is cheating and anythign past that. Dont know how id feel about hand holding and such. i know i wouldn't like it, but dont know if you can call that cheating. Its tough.


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Hanne
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Cheating, honey, is how you define it in your relationship. For people in monogamous relationships, it might be kissing. Or it might be holding hands. Or for some people, it might be an intense emotional relationship with someone that is emotionally as intense as the one between the two monogamous partners. Defining "cheating" is as slippery and difficult as defining "sex."

That's why I prefer to talk about honesty versus dishonesty. If we're honest with ourselves and with our partners about what we want, what we're thinking, and what we're doing, the chances that we're going to be "cheating" -- doing something we're not supposed to do behind someone else's back -- are pretty small.

Polyamory is not, I repeat, NOT for everyone. But it is the perfect situation for some people, and it is a pretty-good situation for a lot of others. It's not surprising that polyamory seems totally inconcievable to you right now, particularly on the heels of having a partner be dishonest with you. Just take my word for it: it works for some people very well, just as well as monogamy does.

------------------
Hanne Blank
Co-Editor, Scarleteen

Start a Revolution -- Stop Hating Your Body!


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TheneB
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How do you guys do it? I wouldn't be able to STAND being in a polyamorous relationship. I realize thats not for everybody. IMO if you are seeing someone, you WANT to be with them, and they want to be with you. I realize this is narrow sighted, but then why would you want to be with anybody else? Maybe im old fashioned. But i know if my gf asked for a Polyamorous relationship, as much as i love her, id say pick one. Because being w/o her would hurt less then knowing shes with someone else.

I think the worse part of cheating is the lies. Well DUH. What i mean, is that its not even the physical act of cheating that i hate so much. Its the SOOOOO many lies that accompany it ( in most cases, not all ). And even worse if they have a relationship with a person behind your back. then that just multiplies the lies. Of course my opinion in this is EXTREMELY biased to one side.
Heres what happened to me.
Im in a Long distance relationship. I was with my GF all summer. I was also lucky enough to be with a guy all summer. Not because i wanted to, but because she talked to him about 2 hours on the phone w/ me in the room everyday, and i went out ONCE with friends other then him, her and i. I asked her if she liked him once, she got mad, i trusted her.
Anyway i get back to Lovely ole canada ( sorry im not patriotic ) and she breaks up with. Shes been seeing this guy since i left, and had kissed him before i got there. And i listened to her telling me i was the only one for her the entire summer. There are just SOOOO many lies in it. If i think about it for 2 minutes im sure i could think of a new one too. But i try not to. But ppl, from my own experiences, if you going to cheat, just leave the person. And if you dotn want to leave them then you dont need to be cheating on them. This is for the monogamous relationships out there.

Heres my personal favourite about the whole thing. One night she was telling me how it was her fantasy to have sex with two guys. I said id do it for her as long as i didn't have to do anything. Then she asked HIM of all ppl for it. Guess im an idiot for not realizing it then. Errrr. Need to stop thinking about this.


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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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It's very difficult for most people to visualize or imagine a nonmonogamous realtionship if the only real construct they have in their minds for relationships is monogamy.

However, it's often a simple difference of thought. For some of us, sex and intimacy with someone isn't something we feel we have a monopoly on, nor do we feel that the intimacy we have with our partner is diluted if they are also intimate with others. Because mosy polyamorous realtionships have honesty and communication as their backbone, in genereal, it ISN'T diluted. For many polyamorous couples, they in fact find that their own intimacy is enhanced. Having a secondary partner (or more) doesn't mean you don't want to be with your primary partner, unless, in fact, you ARE lying about things or aren't really in it for the reasons you say you are.

I'll be plain: I am in a monogamous relationship right now, which is what most of my relationships have been, simply because I don't have the time for others that would still leave me enough time to do all the things I do in a day and be able to give my partner what he needs. However, if he wanted a secondary partner, that'd be just fine with me, because I do not have that sort of jealousy, nor does it make me feel threatened. I have had excellent nonmonogamous realtionships in which no one had those feelings, or when someone did, we simply dealt with them, and more times than not, the root of those feelings wasn't really in the relationships themselves. That sort of sexual or romantic jealousy just isn't something everyone experiences, and in addition, you may find those feelings change for you from partner to partner, and as you change and grow from year to year.

However, looking at what you've been through now, it should certainly be easy to see that what is hurting you most is a breach of trust and a lot of lying, far more than her being with someone else.

I also don't advise that people just haul off and leave a good (that is the keyword here, because in your situation, based on all your posts, your relationship sounds terribly unhealthy to me) relationship because they want another partner. I advise you discuss it with your partner and give them the chance to have a say and express what they need to. You may be able to switch to nonmonogamy well, discover your relationship may be better as a friendship, figure that it is best you part ways, or decide that you don't want another partner after all. But just hauling off and leaving isn't fair to your partner (partner being the key phrase, here), and it -- like lying -- is a sign of some serious emotional immaturity and irresponsibility.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 16 October 2000).]


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TheneB
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Ooops sorry for the double post. Again trying to learn these boards. Right now my relationship prolly isn't too healthy id admit. But thats because of the huge stresses on us both.
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ErinK
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Briefly, since I have to be in class in 20 minutes...

My first serious relationship was monogamous. I was coming off of some serious issues with regard to trust, honesty, cheating, and the like, and I couldn't imagine poly *ever* working for me, or for anyone.

Then, as previously detailed in this thread, I fell in love with someone else without ceasing to be in love with my partner. My choices were to leave one person for the other, reject one person for the other, or keep them both in my life. I chose the third, because it felt right for me. However, it's not always right for everyone, and it's not always right all the time.

It takes a lot of effort for me to keep all of my relationships going, and a lot of communication and a lot of checking in and a lot of scheduling. It is not easy, and I would decidedly say that it is not for everyone.

I still have problems with insecurity and jealousy, particularly when my partners start new relationships or are having difficulties with their other relationships. However, those problems are related to me, and not necessarily to the relationships, because I run into problems with insecurity and jealousy in other aspects of my life. My partners are also very willing and very patient and willing to work with me when we run into difficulties like that.

The joys of having my partners in my life and being in their lives is worth the effort and the risks for me, and for them.

I highly recommend the FAQs at www.polyamory.org, especially the "How to F*** Up FAQ." There is also a Usenet newsgroup called alt.polyamory, and they are a very friendly and warmhearted group of people, for the most part, and very willing to answer questions or talk about all aspects of relationships -- even monogamous ones -- with people. If you don't know how to access news through your ISP, you can read alt.polyamory through DejaNews (http://www.deja.com) or Remarq (http://www.remarq.com)

I'm also very willing to answer questions about this in private email. You can contact me at bee@idea-inc.com.

Forcing oneself into a particular relationship configuration usually doesn't work, in my experience. Relationships change as the people in them change. Sometimes that change moves people closer together, and other times it moves them farther apart. If you can keep talking to each other and with each other, sometimes you can weather the changes together.

I would prefer not to think of myself as suddenly "becoming polyamorous" but just that my life and I have changed insomuch that a set of polyamorous relationships is what works for me right now. That may not be the way it is for the rest of my life. Trying to make yourself fit into a label or a box is hard; them labels are awful small.

Erin


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entropie
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Wow..

That was a lot of stuff to read through just then..
In my very personal and self educated opinion polyamory is something for which preparation and emotional stability in paramount. You have have to have so much trust and faith in a person, and in yourself, to have that kind of relationship.

I'm going to stick to one on one relationships for quite some time, I think.. there's a lot to think about and consider in this thread.. and I might come back to it..

entropie

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